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GEOFFREY VINSAUF Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land

 
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GEOFFREY VINSAUF
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page 64

on them of Greek fire; and there was great mourning and lamentation amongst the people. 0! with what earnestness had we expected the arrival of the kings! How fallen were our hopes! They had come, and we profited not; nay, we suffered a severer loss than usual, and those we expected came to no purpose. Our men of France having laid aside their arms, the Turks began to revile them shamefully; and reproached them with not being able to accomplish what they had begun; moreover, they threw Greek fire on the machines and other warlike instruments of the king of France, which had been made with such care, and destroyed them. Whence the king of France, overcome by fury and anger, sunk into a state of languid sickness, from sorrow, it was said; and, from confusion and discouragement, mounted not on horseback.

Chapter VI. - How, in consequence of the illness of the two kings, the army was closely pressed; and how they were comforted by the arrival of the Nectars.

Thus the army pined away from excessive grief and discouragement at the sickness of the two kings; for they had not a chief or leader to fight the battles of the Lord. To add to the public grief, the count of Flanders died immaturely. The arrival of the Nectars (? Esneckars) in some measure consoled the army, amidst the distress which these circumstances occasioned. There came, after a tranquil voyage, very many bishops and princes, each accompanied by his own retinue, to the aid of the Christians, whose names were, the bishop of Eneverria, Roger de Toony, and many brothers and kinsmen surnamed de Cornebu; Robert de Newbury, Jordan de Humez, the chamberlain of Tancarville, Robert, earl of Leicester; Gerard de Talebor, Radulph Taisson; also the knights named of Torole; the viscount of Castle Dim, Bertram de Verdun, Roger de Hardencort, and the knights of Praels; Garin fitz Gerold, and those of Mara, Henry fitz Nicholas; Ernald de Magnaville, the Stutevilles, William Martel, William Maler, William Bloez, Godard de Loreora, Roger de Satya, Andrew de Chavenguy, Hugo le Brun, Geoffrey do Rancona, Radulph de Mauleon, William des Rocques, Geoffrey de Lancelles; Hugh de Fierte, who was in Cyprus when it was taken, and afterwards came to Acre. The two kings were sick, but the Lord reserved them to succour the Christians, and to recover the city.

Chapter VII. - How the petrariǽ of the two kings, and those of the army of the faithful, attacked the tower Maledictum, and shook down and destroyed a great part of the wall.

The king of France first recovered from his sickness, and turned his attention to the construction of machines and petrariǽ, suitable for attacks, and which he determined to ply night and day, and he had one of superior quality, to which they gave the name of "Bad Neighbour." The Turks also had one they called "Bad Kinsman," which by its violent casts, often broke "Bad Neighbour" in pieces; but the king of France rebuilt it, until by constant blows, he broke down part of the principal city wall, and shook the tower Maledictum. On one side, the petraria of the duke of Burgundy plied; on the other, that of the Templars did severe execution; while that of the Hospitallers never ceased to cast terror amongst the Turks. Besides these, there was one petraria, erected at the common expense, which they were in the habit of calling the "petraria of God." Near it, there constantly preached a priest, a man of great probity, who collected money to restore it at their joint expense, and to hire persons to bring stones for casting. By means of this engine, a part of the wall of the tower Maledictum was at length shaken down, for about two poles’ length. The count of Flanders had a very choice petraria of large size, which after his death, King Richard possessed; besides a smaller one, equally good. These two were plied incessantly, close by a gate the Turks used to frequent, until part of the tower was knocked down. In addition to these two, King Richard had constructed two others of choice workmanship and material, which would strike a place at an incalculable distance. He had also built one put together very compactly, which the people called "Berefred," with steps to mount it, fitting most tightly to it; covered with raw hides and ropes, and having layers of most solid wood, not to be destroyed by any blows, nor open to injury from the pouring thereon of Greek fire, or any other material. He also prepared two mangonels, one of which was of such violence and rapidity, that what it hurled, reached the inner rows of the city marketplace. These engines were plied day and night, and it is well known that a stone sent from one of them killed twelve men with its blow; the stone was afterwards carried to Saladin for inspection; and King Richard had brought it from Messina, which city he had taken. Such stones and flinty pieces of rock, of the smoothest kind, nothing could withstand; but they either shattered in pieces the object they struck, or ground it to powder. The king was confined to his bed by a severe attack of fever, which discouraged him;

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